I'm a Permanent Resident and Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offence
When someone who is not a Canadian citizen is charged with a criminal offence, immigration officials will be notified.
You could lose your permanent resident status and you could be deported to your country of origin if you are convicted of a serious crime.
A crime is serious if:
- the maximum sentence you could get is 10 or more years in prison (even if you get a shorter sentence), or
- the sentence that you do get is more than six months in prison.
|If you are a permanent resident, it is a good idea to apply for Canadian citizenship as soon as you meet the requirements. Once you become a citizen you cannot be removed from Canada other than in extremely rare circumstances or if you misrepresented facts on your application.
If you are not a citizen and you are charged with a crime, get legal advice as soon as you can. See Where to get help.
- It is very important to see a lawyer who has experience in criminal law and immigration law. If you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, apply for legal aid. See legal aid representation in the Resource List for information about how to apply for legal aid. To get legal aid you must be financially eligible and there must be a risk of jail or deportation if you are convicted of the charge.
- If you are detained because of the criminal charge, contact criminal duty counsel. If you are detained because of immigration proceedings, contact immigration duty counsel. See duty counsel in the Resource List for more information.
What happens next
- You will have to deal with the criminal charge in court. See "I've been charged with a criminal (or youth) offence and have to go to court" for information.
- If you plead guilty or are convicted at trial, the Immigration and Refugee Board may hold an admissibility hearing to decide if you can remain in Canada. See Admissibility Hearings for information about what can happen.
- If the admissibility hearing results in a removal order, you may be able to appeal the order to the Immigration Appeal Division. But if your sentence is for more than six months, you lose your right to appeal.
- For information about the appeal process see:
Where to get help
See the Resource List of this guide for a list of helpful resources. Your best bets are:
- Legal aid representation, to see if you can get legal aid.
- Government of Canada's Settlement Services Directory to find agencies that provide services to immigrants and refugee claimants.
- The Law Students' Legal Advice Program Manual chapter on Immigration Law.
Before you meet with a lawyer or advocate, complete the form Preparing for Your Interview included in this guide. Be sure to take copies of all the documents about your case.
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Rochelle Appleby, March 2017.|
|Legal Help for British Columbians © Cliff Thorstenson and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|
A request to the court that it make a specific order, usually on an interim or temporary basis, also called a "chambers application" or a "motion." See also "interim application" and "relief."
A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor."
A term under the Family Law Act that describes the visitation rights of a person who is not a guardian with a child. Contact may be provided by court order or by the agreement among the child's guardians who have parental responsibility for determining contact. See "guardian" and "parental responsibilities."
A lawyer paid by legal aid or the government who provides limited legal services to people on the day that they are in court.
The testing of the claims at issue in a court proceeding at a formal hearing before a judge with the jurisdiction to hear the proceeding. The parties present their evidence and arguments to the judge, who then makes a determination of the parties' claims against one another that is final and binding on the parties unless appealed. See "action," "appeal," "argument," "claim," "evidence" and "jurisdiction."
In law, any proceeding before a judicial official to determine questions of law and questions of fact, including the hearing of an application and the hearing of a trial. See "decision" and "evidence."
A mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision" and "declaration."
An application to a higher court for a review of the correctness of a decision of a lower court. A decision of a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia can be appealed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. A decision of a judge of the Supreme Court can be appealed to the Court of Appeal for British Columbia.
A lawyer or a person other than a lawyer who helps clients with legal issues; to argue a position on behalf of a client.
In law, a court proceeding; a lawsuit; an action; a cause of action; a claim. Also the historic decisions of the court. See "action," "case law, " "court proceeding," and "precedent."